Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy School Counseling Anniversary!

It was a typical day in the life of an Elementary School Counselor with classes, individual counseling, behavior group check in, a parent conference, teacher consultations, a DCF call, giving a KBIT, and finally facilitating a Problem Solving Team meeting. The day came and went and I didn't even realize it. Until today. I missed my School Counseling Anniversary.  Happy School Counseling Anniversary to me!  Twenty-eight years ago this past Thursday marked the beginning of my adventure into a profession I dearly love!

A look back...
In the last 28 years I have worked at 4 schools, had 8 principals, 8 assistant principals, 6 interns, 14 School Psychologists, 9 School Social Workers, 6 district level Guidance Specialists, and 4 School District Superintendents.  For 2 years I was split between 2 schools as a solo act and for 3 years I was split between 2  large schools who each also had a full time counselor. Over the years,  I have been in 12 different offices from a "closet" next to the bathroom, to sharing a classroom with the speech clinician to doing a 3 way share of a portable with my School Counselor partner and the Parent Resource Center. I have been in a "standard office," had my own classroom with and without a bathroom, and now my own portable.  When I began the only phone was in the main office, there were no computers, and we still used mimeograph machines, filmstrip projectors, and typewriters. I was young, inexperienced and learned a lot by trial and error, but mostly errors.  I went to every training, workshop and conference that was offered, joined my local and state School Counselor Association and the American School Counseling Association and eventually presented  3 times at the state level. I've worked with children from pre-K to 6th grade, gen ed, gifted, mentally handicapped, and severely emotionally disturbed. During this time I also raised 2 children and achieved National Board Certification.  Over the years, I  have been blessed with a strong support system of Counselor Colleagues and a faculty and administration who have supported me in all my attempts to build the School Counseling program at my schools.

Looking Forward
You may be thinking at 28 years I am looking at retiring soon, but nothing could be further from the truth!  I have a good 8-10+ years left and there is still so much I want to accomplish. In the last 2 years, I started a county level PLC with my Counselor Colleagues, launched my school counseling webpage, joined Pinterest, got an iPad and started learning about and creating Google Forms.  This past summer, I attended ASCA  for the first time, started this blog, agreed to serve as a mentor for a new Counselor, joined Twitter and my local School Counseling Association as the New Counselor Coordinator.

You are only as old as you feel (or act)
Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine who made an observation about the way a group of educators had arranged themselves at a meeting we attended.  Her words really stuck with me. She stated the new educators sat near the front of the meeting room, the "up and comers" sat front and center, and the "old school educators" sat together as far back as possible, complaining about how things have changed.  I may be celebrating my 28th anniversary as a School Counselor, but I don't EVER want to be associated with  "old" or "old school" in my thinking.  Education and the School Counseling profession look very different than it did 28 years ago, than it did 3 years ago, and that can be scary. But I don't want to be too scared to change what I have always done, or even throw out some things I have always loved to do. I want to keep growing and learning and sharing.  I want to stretch and challenge myself to be a part of new things, even those outside my comfort zone. I want to integrate more technology in my lessons, learn to analyze and disaggregate data, to present at ASCA and become more involved in my state school counseling association advocating for the role of School Counselors at all levels.

I am inspired by what I see being done on the pages of the Elementary School Counselor Exchange, TPT, Pinterest,Twitter, all the great School Counseling blogs out there, and the numerous websites that offer ideas, lessons, and videos.  There are so many great new things to choose from to meet the needs of our students and their families.   How could even think it might be time to retire?

So, Happy Anniversary to me...and many more!!!

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